Thursday, December 10, 2015

Starts and Stripes

This week I pulled (once again) some hand-dyed gradients from my stash to pin on the design wall for yet another good, long stare. These gorgeous fabrics always give me an infusion of inspiration.

Hand-dyes from the Vicki Welsh shop on Etsy
From the day they were ordered, I started mentally designing a landscape quilt with each piece. But after a couple of years of periodic auditions and longing contemplation, I finally had to concede that, for what I had in mind, there really wasn't enough fabric (only a half-yard each). By the time each piece was quilted and squared, it would be too narrow for my original idea to work well. Bad planning from the get-go.

'Let your plans go,' I told myself. 'Let these pieces work together, instead, to come up with something totally different.'

So--horror of horrors!--I would cut and piece them. (No doubt, Vicki Welsh wouldn't have the slightest problem with that, but in my funny little head, these fabrics were meant to stay intact, by golly, with all their lovely, organic, gradient morphing untouched.)

You'd have thought I was a reluctant surgical intern. Rotary cutter, please. Aaaaaaggggggghhhhhhhh! It was painful, but with grim determination on my part, each of these three beautiful pieces was cut mercilessly into strips.

And the first audition wasn't bad at all...I liked it.

But on second thought, something was a bit too predominant for me...the orange. If this was to be a landscape background, it would probably have to be a forest fire.

So another 1/2-yard piece was pulled from the stash--the middle piece in the photo at right (fabric washed but not yet ironed). My thinking was that the strips on the design wall above needed some green to cool them down, and maybe some more gold to level things out. And there was blue in it, to top it off.

After rearranging the strips a few times, I really liked what I saw and went on and sewed them together so there would no longer be any question about it. Moving forward!

I still didn't know what was going to happen with this, but had long ago learned to trust the muse and the process. So, no worries. One element did keep popping into mind--a particular flower, large-scale, against this background. And later, when my son took a look at the background and said he could imagine an autumn scene there, I was off and running. More to show next week, hopefully.

The photo at left was taken totally by accident; the button was pressed unintentionally while the camera was in motion. I'm glad it happened, because it turned out pretty cool.

Have a great weekend!



  1. Linda, that last photo gave me an inspiration. I'd turn it so that the orange was on top and plan an Alaskan landscape with cabin, snow, moose and trees under the Aurora Borialis. Look forward to what you do with this.

    1. Angie, that's what I LOVE about these quilting blogs...we never know how differently someone else will perceive an image or how they will be inspired, in a different direction, by what we're doing. And yes, I totally get what you're seeing in that photo, but it had never occurred to me until you said it. So cool.

  2. Although I do the same thing- holding on to the really good fabric. I'm so glad you used it and it is lovely . Let the fabric do the work and yes that last photo is awesome! I'm thinking the great wizard behind that emerald city curtain

    1. Ha, see, there's yet another cool interpretation!! Love it, Carol.


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